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OBEY THE LAW or ELSE: Illegal Gambling Penalty in the Philippines

1103 views September 1, 2023
by TJ

In the Philippines, there is an illegal gambling penalty for hard-headed bettors. Many may believe the government does not act on illegal gamblers, but they are entirely wrong.

What are the repercussions of illegal gambling in the Philippines? Is gambling prohibited in the country, to begin with? These are some of the questions we will answer for today’s blog. But first, let us know…

What is Illegal Gambling?

Illegal gambling has a different meaning that depends on a country’s laws and regulations. Though there are several rules, it all boils down to the considered prohibited games.

In the Philippines, gambling is not entirely illegal. However, several services or products could penalize a player, operator, or platform if caught playing or offering such games.

The Philippines views illegal gambling as any form not authorized by the government’s gaming overseer, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). Several laws define the term, such as the Republic Act (R.A) 9287, which condemns illegal number games. It also serves as the country’s illicit online gambling law.

R.A. 9287 is the amendment of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’’s Presidential Decree No. 1602. It serves as a stiffer punishment for those who practice or operate:

Jueteng and Masiao

Unregulated numbers games that involve wagering on specific number combinations.

Last Two and Bookmaking

Placing bets on the last two digits of official lottery results or engaging in unauthorized sports betting operations.

Unregistered Online Gambling

Participating in any form of online betting without proper licensing and authorization.

OKBet Illegal Gambling Penalty Philippines

|Since the start of 2023, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has arrested about 41,000 individuals operating illegal gambling operations across the Philippines, according to the Philippine News Agency last Tuesday|


Engaging in unlicensed or unauthorized cockfighting events.

To further put teeth to these laws, the Philippine National Police (PNP) created the Anti-Illegal Gambling Special Operations Task Groups. This task force works under the authority of the President, as per former President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 13.

The Philippine government is also making POGOs’ lives harder, especially with multiple reports of serious crimes, including killings and abductions. Last year, the Senate made a move by suggesting the ban of POGOs nationwide.

Last May 2023, authorities launched Operation High Roller through memorandum circular no. 2017-022 issued by the police. It aims to intensify the PNP’s crackdown on illegal gambling activities in the country.

So far, it yielded great results. Over 40,000 Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) employees have been deported as of 2022. In the second half of 2023, more than 41,000 have been arrested for illegal gambling.

Illegal Gambling Penalty in the Philippines

Engaging in illegal gambling activities in the Philippines can result in severe penalties beyond financial fines. The government’s commitment to curbing unauthorized betting is evident through the following repercussions:

  1. Imprisonment

Perpetrators can face imprisonment, ranging from several months to years, depending on the severity of the offense. For bettors, 30 to 90 days will be given; employees of illegal gambling will receive a penalty of six years to eight years; operators can have 10 to 12 years; and protectors can be imprisoned for 16 to 20 years.

  1. Fines 

Individuals caught participating in illegal gambling may be slapped with substantial fines, further exacerbating the financial burden. It depends on the personalities, but as per R.A. No. 9287, government employees or officials will receive an illegal gambling penalty of up to 5 million pesos and face jail time.

  1. Closure of Establishments

Unauthorized gambling venues and operations risk closure by law enforcement agencies, leading to substantial losses for operators. So far, there have been 389 operations shut down by the PNP.

  1. Confiscation of Assets

Authorities can seize assets related to illegal gambling, affecting both individuals and businesses.

In conclusion, illegal gambling penalties are significant and encompass financial and legal consequences. Yes, gambling is not entirely prohibited, but it saves anyone from infractions by gambling within the purview of the gambling laws of the Philippines.

There are many authorized operators, such as OKBet, that adhere to the standard set by PAGCOR. Avoid an illegal gambling penalty by playing at legal gambling sites and casinos.



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